ISLAMABAD - Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) president Maj Gen (R) M Akram Sahi chaired the first meeting of the newly-elected office bearers of the association here on Friday at a local hotel.

Former POA interim committee president Asif Bajwa of Pakistan Basketball Federation was appointed vice president of the POA, replacing Imran Bashir, who tendered his resignation. It was also decided to constitute a committee headed by Islamabad Olympic Association president Brig (R) Arif Siddiqui for the well-being of the players and to encourage them. The committee will submit its detailed report in the next meeting.

“We will soon conduct talent hunt programmes in the entire country and our main focus will be finding players from the far-flung areas and our first and foremost priority will be bringing international sports back to Pakistan,” Gen Sahi said. He lauded the National Games organising committee for doing a remarkable job in a very short span of time. “Pakistan will participate in all the international sporting activities, including the Islamic Solidarity Games and training camps will be shortly established for this purpose,” he added.

Sharing his views, Federal IPC minister Riaz Hussain Pirzada once again retreated that government would support Gen Sahi-led POA and would work on priority basis on the recommendations of Sahi. He said new sports policy would soon be announced so that Pakistan could regain lost ground in the world of sports. “It is our quest to curb politics out of sports as we will not work in haste. I have directed Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) to issue show-cause notices to all those federations, who are not abiding by the national sports policy and legal action must be taken against them,” he said and added: “The PSB will not issue funds to any federation until and unless the audit of the each and every PSB-affiliated federation will be conducted.”

“We will not accept international sporting bodies pressure or any threat and if someone tries to bring bad name for the country by inviting international bodies intervention in our personal affairs, he will be ready to face the consequences. It is the responsibility of the PSB to make sure federations should implement national sports policy in true letter and spirit and we will remove flaws in the PSB very soon and the institution will be run transparently,” the IPC minister added.

It is pertinent to mention here that Gen Sahi is rewarding all the personalities who helped him in landing the POA hot seat. Asif Bajwa promised not to be the part of the election process and not to accept any role in the POA set up, so now where all his tall claims has gone? The answer is simple that the entire saga was staged to accommodate him becuase he played the most significant role in helping Sahi in winning the POA so-called elections. Besides, huge national exchequer was wasted on a lavish ‘iftar dinner’ here at a most expensive newly-inaugurated hotel. Instead of wasting this money on holding such meetings, Gen Sahi could have spent that amount on the well-being of the athletes who are the main and sole attraction while conducting any event, but the major stake holders are always ignored.

The tussle between Gen Arif and Gen Sahi is not about promotion of sports rather it is a battle between the two powerfuls who want to grab the top POA slot and run the affairs in their own style. This tussle is not only bringing bad name to the country, but also hurting the players, who have already very limited opportunities to compete at international events.